This years City Nature Challenge saw more people, more records and more wildlife than ever before. Daniel Robb from our Giving Nature a Home team tells us more.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge. It was a fantastic weekend for recording wildlife, despite the mixed weather, and our team had a great time interacting with you all at events across Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Using the iNaturalist app both our projects received over a thousand wonderful recordings of hundreds of species including birds, bees and all sorts of trees. These recordings were received from returning citizen scientists and new participants.

Building on last year’s challenge, Scotland had two competing projects - Greater Glasgow and Greater Edinburgh - which between them included the entirety of the Central Belt. The City/Region nature challenge was clearly less catchy a name for the organisers! Whilst our own team got out and about in the two cities it was great to see so many people making adding their observations across the country. This is really what iNaturalist is all about - empowering you to record and protect nature wherever you find it!

The verified results of each challenge can help inform conservation, management and research activities around the world. By recording greater volumes of data on the health and diversity of species in our cities we give valuable information to scientists who don’t have the resources to complete these surveys on their own. So a clearer picture of our world can be created the more people that get involved.

In Greater Glasgow we finished with 1,864 observations of 553 species by 94 observers. This smashes last year’s result and it was great to see so many more people take part and many more species recorded. We were particularly excited about the activity sessions we conducted at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and at Hamiltonhill Claypits, a fantastic Local Nature Reserve that everyone should visit. Not to mention the records made through our ongoing work in the Craigend area near Seven Lochs, where the Giving Nature a Home team is consulting with the community on a greenspace regeneration project.

A close-up of a dandelion not yet in flower. Its seed head is visible.

Image credit: Paul Turner

Glasgow finished 168th out of 447 cities worldwide and 10th in the UK. The top 5 most recorded species in Glasgow were: common dandelion (Taraxacum sp.) (23 records), common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) (22 records), common daisy (Bellis perennis) (20 records), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (18 records) and beech (Fagus sylvatica) (18 records).

In Greater Edinburgh 1,106 observations were made of 448 species by 101 observers, with similar increases in participation and diversity of species. Edinburgh finished in 220th position worldwide and 12th in the UK. The top 5 most recorded species in Edinburgh were: gorse seed weevil (Exapion ulicis) (23 records), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiola) (17 records), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (10 records), gorse (Ulex europaeus) (9 records) and red campion (Silene dioica) (9 records).

Some of the more unusual species observations included the heath goldsmith ground beetle (Carabus nitens) in the hills near Cumnock in East Ayrshire and the egg case of a small spotted catshark (Scylliorhinus canicula) near Portobello beach in Edinburgh.

A red campion flower is surrounded by pink purslane.

Image credit: Andy Hay

Thank you to everyone who participated in any of our events across Glasgow and Edinburgh including those at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Crookston Castle, Seven Lochs, Lauriston Agro-Ecology Co-op, the Salisbury Centre and even as part of our consultation at Craigend.

If you would like to help us identify more of our finds just log on to iNaturalist and check on the Greater Edinburgh and Greater Glasgow projects and add an ID suggestion to any image not listed as research Grade or RG.

City Nature Challenge 2022: Greater Glasgow · iNaturalist

City Nature Challenge 2022: Greater Edinburgh · iNaturalist

Don’t forget you can continue to help nature and be a citizen science by keeping your phone handy when you are out in nature and carry on recording the wildlife you see on the iNaturalist app.

Once again, thanks and well done to everyone for taking part, and watch this space for next years event where hopefully even more of you can get involved!